Collaboration is a key component in the workplace that can lead to innovation — it is an integral part of any job.
When you work collaboratively, your whole team should feel like they are contributing and their thoughts valued — not just those who have spoken up first or said something “right”.
In this article, you will read about how you can apply collaboration in the workplace for innovation.
Let’s get started.
What is workplace collaboration?
Workplace collaboration is a collaborative effort in the workplace between you and your coworkers.
It’s an act of working with others you share responsibility with for accomplishing work-related tasks — where you share skills and ideas to achieve your common goal as a team.
Although you can talk to your co-workers in a formal setting, it doesn’t mean it’s limited to the confines of your office. You can also collaborate in a work chat or through social media.
What are the benefits of workplace collaboration?
There are a lot of benefits you can acquire from workplace collaboration.
1. Increases productivity and innovation when you’re at work
Innovation is what you’re after as you work with your team. Innovation is the solution you provide to a given problem — and you can only be innovative if you work well together and share ideas.
2. Gives you more perspective on the project at hand
When you work with your team, you will be able to gather the information you haven’t thought of or haven’t known about. Moreover, you will receive advice and suggestions regarding the project you are working on.
3. Makes your team more efficient
Since you all work together as a single unit, you can achieve tasks faster than if you were on your own. You can also divide tasks you have to work on among you and make sure you stick to your deadline.
4. Your team is accountable for the project you’re working on
When you work together, you will be accountable for the final results of the project you are working on. You will be answerable to your client or your boss if you finish a task on time and with great quality.
By the way, we published an ebook on how to engage employees, which you can download for free from our website. You would also learn how to measure employee engagement.
What are the common challenges of workplace collaboration?
There are always challenges you will encounter when you work on a team.
1. Not everyone is as passionate as you are
There will always be a few people you work with who will not feel as strongly about the project you are all working on — it is just the way it is.
However, you can still work collaboratively with them. You can also do your own part to motivate them to contribute more ideas, opinions, and work.
It is your job to communicate your vision with the rest of the team and cultivate the right mindset needed.
2. There might be personality conflicts among you
When you work collaboratively, you are bound to have disagreements with other team members from time to time. This is especially true when you have different personalities or opposing points of view.
You must learn to be patient with your coworkers. You can do so by setting aside your differences for the sake of finishing the task you are all working on together.
Remember, you are only human, you will not always agree with your team. However, you can learn to give others the benefit of doubt and have faith that you all have the same overall goal in mind.
3. Not everyone is willing to share their thoughts
Some people you work with might not feel comfortable contributing ideas, conversations, or opinions in front of others.
They may feel like you’re encroaching on their space by making your needs heard when you communicate in a collaborative setting.
Keep in mind that you are sharing the same workplace. Your co-workers do not own their spaces nor do you theirs. You are all equal and must learn to respect others.
Remember, you should never hesitate to share your thoughts if you feel like you need an answer or can contribute to the project you are working on.
4. You may not always agree with your team
There will be instances you and your coworkers will not see eye to eye in terms of decision-making and you may feel they’re holding you back.
But this is actually a good thing. It means you have the chance to let them explain their side, why they disagree with you, or why you should consider their idea.
By doing this, you can come to a decision you all agree with.
5. Time management is difficult
It is easy to get carried away when you share your ideas with your team — you might want to use all the time you have left in your project.
However, you should not always stay at work just because you are with your team. You should also balance your time and do some self-care you deserve.
You have to remember you are more than just your job and that you have other responsibilities you must attend to.
How To Successfully Collaborate In The Workplace
Here are some ways you can effectively collaborate in the workplace:
1. Be open to sharing your ideas with your team
Remember, you are not alone — you have other people you must cooperate and communicate with.
You will be more successful in working together if you let your team know what you expect from them and vice versa.
By doing this, you can come up with the best ideas you think you can execute with the time you have.
That is why you must speak up if you have something to contribute you know you can offer.
2. Always keep your goal in mind
You must always remember — you’re working towards a common goal, not competing against each other.
If you feel overwhelmed or stressed out, take some time to relax and collect your thoughts. Do not be afraid to ask for help if you feel you can’t handle something on your own.
As an innovation leader, there may be times when feel you are not as good as the others in your workplace. You might think you are lagging behind and you can’t keep up.
These kinds of thoughts will just make you more anxious and stressed out so you must be one with your team and know you all have each other’s backs.
3. Talk to your coworker if there is an issue you can’t settle on your own
If you feel you may need help settling a dispute between you and someone on the team, talk to someone who has more authority than you.
If you don’t feel comfortable discussing with him or her, you can also approach another manager or supervisor you think you can open up to.
You should not let these issues build up inside you and you should not feel you are bearing this burden alone. Take action if you think you can’t handle it anymore.
This will help you and your coworker understand each other better and for you to finally come to a resolution that works for both of you.
4. Take note of your strengths and weaknesses
We all have our different strengths. It would be best if you highlight these if you want to get the most out of collaborative work.
For example, you might prefer planning, while your teammate is excellent at organizing and taking care of the details.
Put your strengths to good use and you can work together if you recognize your differences.
Note your weaknesses too and you can ask your teammates to fill in the gaps you might be missing.
5. Be flexible with your communication style
There are different ways to communicate — you might prefer speaking up or you might be more comfortable writing things down.
There is no right or wrong way to do it, you just have to know your preference and what works for you and others.
You can talk to your teammates and come up with a certain style you find most comfortable.
This way, you can work together better because you are able to share ideas without any issues.
6. Mind your body language
Body language is underrated when you are trying to communicate with others. However, it plays an important role in collaboration so you must pay attention to what your body is saying.
You do not want you or your teammates thinking you are not interested in what they have to say when you communicate with them through your body language.
Good communication skills can be achieved if you always make eye contact with the person you are talking to. Smile and use gestures while you talk.
This way, you can convey your ideas better and you can get your team to work together more effectively.
How To Use Live Collaboration For Innovation
Live collaboration means connecting many users from various parts of the world to work on a variety of projects or initiatives online (digitally).
It allows people to collaborate effectively and keep projects on track by providing them with immediate, relevant information.
It helps organize projects and ensure they are on schedule while also delivering stakeholders and team members the same real-time data.
With the use of Accept Mission Innovation Software, you can collaborate with your team live with our “Boards” tool.
You can use it to:
- Connect with your team wherever each member maybe
- Gather ideas continuously and share insights with your team
- Track performance and share it with everyone using reports
- Enable your team to analyze and solve problems together
- Build ideation campaigns with multiple goals
- Improve idea selection and smart decision making
All these benefits help in implementing a successful collaboration in the workplace.
If you think your team can make use of such a tool, book a demo now or explore other features of the innovation software by going on a feature tour.